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Are Today's Immigrants Less American Than Previous Newcomers?

Last week's columns on the illegal immigration debate in Prince William County and other Washington suburbs brought a pile of mail from readers. The debates are tense and tough: Are today's immigrants elementally different from previous waves of newcomers to this country? Is there any merit to my suggestion that the new social and political tensions over immigration stem in good part from changes in where immigrants tend to live--that is, spread out in suburban communities with longtime residents, rather than clustered in urban ghettos, as immigrants were through much of the previous century?

Reader Robert Hume passed along a piece by Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam, who concludes that despite the longterm merits of immigration and diversity, in the shorter run, ethnic diversity in a community tends "to reduce social solidarity and social capital. New evidence from the US suggests that in ethnically diverse neighborhoods, residents of all races tend to 'hunker down'. Trust (even of one's own race) is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friends fewer."

Putnam is not arguing against immigration by any means. He notes that over time, the benefits of immigration are undeniable and are the core strength of the American experiment. "Throughout history, for example, immigrants have accounted for three to four times as many of America's Nobel Laureates, National Academy of Science members, Academy Award film directors and winners of Kennedy Center awards in the performing arts as native-born Americans," he writes. And he points to studies of U.S. soldiers in World War II that showed attitudes across racial lines softening considerably following contact with people unlike oneself.

But that experience is countered by a number of studies showing that "the more we are brought into physical proximity with people of another race or ethnic background, the more we stick to 'our own' and the less we trust the 'other.'" Putnam cites a recent, large-scale American survey that found that "In highly diverse Los Angeles or San Francisco, for example, roughly 30 percent of the inhabitants say that they trust their neighbors 'a lot,' whereas in the ethnically homogeneous communities of North and South Dakota, 70-80 percent of the inhabitants say the same. In more diverse communities, people trust their neighbors less."

How powerful is this effect? Check this out: "In areas of greater diversity, our respondents demonstrate:
• Lower confidence in local government, local leaders and the local news media.
• Lower political efficacy - that is, confidence in their own influence.
• Lower frequency of registering to vote, but more interest and knowledge about politics and more participation in protest marches and social reform groups.
• Less expectation that others will cooperate to solve dilemmas of collective action (e.g., voluntary conservation to ease a water or energy shortage).
• Lower likelihood of giving to charity or volunteering.
• Fewer close friends and confidants.
• Less happiness and lower perceived quality of life.
• More time spent watching television and more agreement that 'television is my most important form of entertainment'.

Despite all this, Putnam concludes that the impact of diversity and immigration on a community can and does change over time, and that differences that once seemed important can become almost meaningless. He points to the successful diminution of the importance of race in the U.S. military and the drastic decline in attention paid to denominational religious differences in American society over the past couple of generations as examples of how such attitudes change:

A century ago, America also experienced a large, sustained wave of immigration that massively increased our ethnic diversity in traditional terms, with the arrival of millions of immigrants of different 'races' - a term that then referred to the Italian and Polish Catholics, Russian Jews and others who were swarming into a previously White Anglo Saxon Protestant (WASP)-dominated society. Though I have not found any comparable survey evidence for that period, my strong suspicion is that that period also witnessed a good deal of hunkering, even within the immigrant communities. Yet fifty years later, the grandchildren of the WASPs and of the immigrants were comfortable in one another's presence.

But some readers wrote me lengthy tracts arguing that today's Hispanic immigrants cannot be compared with any previous wave of newcomers to this country because (each of these quotes is from a different reader) "these people don't want to become Americans," "they don't have any intention of assimilating," "they're not interested in education," and "their values are just too different from ours."

Here's a summary of a RAND study that looks at Hispanic economic progress in this country compared to how other immigrant groups have moved up; the results show that Hispanics do as well, if not better, than European immigrants did in past generations.

Similarly, this study looks at acquisition of English and other signs of whether immigrants are assimilating into this country; the findings, especially on Mexican immigrants, are that while knowledge of English is quite low in the first generation, that changes quickly and in fact more quickly than with other immigrant groups.

That may not change the perceptions of some readers who live and work with new immigrants whom they find uninterested in adopting American ways--see the text of a couple of readers' accounts on the jump--but the evidence does point to one constant truism in our history: Time resolves virtually all conflicts between immigrants and those who were born here.

Here's one teader's view of immigration, informed by her work as a teacher in Fairfax County:

I can get by in Spanish, but my students didn't know that until this year. And, until I let it slip (when I became very irritated with a very obnoxious Spanish senorita) and spoke in Spanish, I was the recipient of disrespect and rebellion by a good percentage of the Spanish GIRLS--not boys--- in my classes. Surprising, huh? Somehow, the fact that I spoke Spanish made me OK. I should be grateful, but I am feeling sardonic at this point. Anyway, my experience is this: the Hispanic students don't want to be in school to learn, only to socialize. For every "good" Hispanic student---and by that I mean they are willing to try and do their homework and come to get help, or even request extensions for projects--- I have 5 who really couldn't give a damn. I have called parents; I have requested interpreters for conversations; I have talked to counselors; I have given extensions, kept after school, removed make up items, cell phones & cameras, and nagged until a month after a project was due; but quite often it makes little difference. What I have heard from my Spanish students is the excuse that the other teachers are prejudiced and that's why they are doing so bad. It is never about their accountability.

We know that some students must work, that is why many of us cut our students slack on many occasions. Interestingly, the ones who work are very low key about it. And they are not really the problem children. One student's mother said she tried to take away privileges when her son had bad grades, but her husband always foiled her efforts. She is a wonderful lady and I feel she is truly trying. But even she excuses some of the behavior with the belief that her son will be OK because his brother was also a "late bloomer" and he is at Virginia Tech after two years at NOVA. Some parents refuse to return phone calls, some say it's OK, others just don't care. The real bottom line is the world is different and the immigrants are different, and what worked at one time and place may not work now.

And here's a view from a Prince William County resident who describes herself as "an immigrant (Zambian), legal, teacher and a mother:"

Back in Zambia, my family was considered very well off (my husband was a dentist and I a biochemist/microbiologist). But we wanted more for our children, so we moved to the U.S.A.
Re-locating to the U.S.A. gave us the experience of being very poor and vulnerable. We however, focused on our children's education while struggling to break into the American workforce. It took me 5 years of trying to get a job (good) similar to the one I had back in Zambia before I gave up and switched to teaching. In our poverty, we maintained high moral, ethical and academic standards, contrary to what many studies claim. Our children excelled in school and stayed out of trouble.

We're now citizens of the United States of America and believe everyone wishing to live and work here must come in legally, as it costs to take care of people especially children (health, education) and in this case at taxpayers' expense.

For the past 10 years, I have been trying to have my grown son visit us from Zambia to no avail. I have seen him only once in those 10 years because he can't swim across the Atlantic Ocean nor jump a fence at some southern or northern border. We are law abiding citizens therefore, we patiently wait for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to approve his papers.

All illegal immigrants can go back to their respective countries too, file papers and wait just like we are doing. If Prince William County Police stop me on the streets because I proudly wear my African attires, I will proudly show them evidence of my citizenship knowing they have a job to do.

Prince William County, for whose school system I work, has paved the way for all counties in the nation to follow suit regarding Illegal Immigration. I commend them for their boldness.

By Marc Fisher |  July 25, 2007; 7:34 AM ET
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Comments

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Jack Paar said "Immigration is the sincerest form of flattery." Bring 'em on. The more the merrier. Etc.

They'll learn from us and we'll learn from them and we'll all be better for it.

Posted by: KK | July 25, 2007 8:03 AM

Todays immingrant especially Koreans and Latinos seem to want to resist assimilation into the corrupt and bountiful American way of life. The Korean community in Centerville isolates itself having its own churchs and shops. If you are white and enter one of their stores you may or may not get served. They fear their children will become to Americanized.
Korean Americans also suffer from group think and fear that tey will not meet their groups norms. Those who are not financially successful face great pressure as do parents whose kids arent 4.0 students. Latinos dont seem to want to learn English like my Polish ancestors and their children arent pushed to excel in school. We need to move away from cuddling immigrants no Spanish or Korean or Polisha nd force them to learn English. What makes America great is our culture corrupts absolutely baseball, apple pie and cars! Hard for teenagers of any ethinicity to resist. Korean Americans and Latinos seem to want to keep to themsleves so that the American culture doesnt corrupt their children and turn them into American teenagers. Sorry you cant stop this force. We defeated the Soviet Union with American culture we will defeat you. Islam you are next!

Posted by: 2nd generation | July 25, 2007 8:06 AM

Hey 2nd generation, I hate to break it to you but today's Hispanic immigrants acquire English at a greater rate then the Polish community of a century ago. In fact I believe the Poles were the slowest community to adopt English as the language of the home. It took three full generations whereas 21st century Hispanic immigrants adopt English as their first language within 2 generations (on average). The only large immigrant community that adopted English faster were my ancestors, the Irish, who either spoke English or had exposure to English before they arrived.

Your comments represent the typical Know-Nothing type nativism that greets EVERY wave of immigrants to our shores. You argue that Hispanics are different. Look at the facts. They are not different. The EXACT same things that you think and say about them were said of your IMMIGRANT ancestors.

Posted by: An Dliodoir | July 25, 2007 9:11 AM

"'In highly diverse Los Angeles or San Francisco, for example, roughly 30 percent of the inhabitants say that they trust their neighbors 'a lot,' whereas in the ethnically homogeneous communities of North and South Dakota, 70-80 percent of the inhabitants say the same. In more diverse communities, people trust their neighbors less.'"

Could this be because cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco are substantially larger than even the biggest communities in North and South Dakota? I would imagine that living in a town of 133,000 people (Sioux Falls, the largest city in the Dakotas) would engender more trust for your neighbors than living in a metropolis of 3.8 million (the population of Los Angeles)

As for the commentary from the teacher, I hate to say it (being African-American myself), but those same comments can be made of some African-American parents and children. I don't understand singling out immigrants as the sole source of such attitudes- there are parents who don't care of all colors.

Furthermore, studies show that with each passing generation, be they Korean, Hispanic, Polish, Nigerian, whatever, assimilation increases. In many cases, by second or third generation, many children don't even speak the native language of their grandparents.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 9:17 AM

An Diodoir is exactly right about assimilation.

My children attend the Oyster School and are fluent in English and Spanish. The school is about 55% hispanic and 45% gringo and every subject -- even science and math -- is taught in both languages.

The chief complaint of the native Spanish-speaking parents is that their children won't speak Spanish at home. They only want to talk to their parents in English.

My own theory is that television is the big difference why hispanics will become assimilated more rapidly than earlier immigrant groups.

Posted by: KK | July 25, 2007 9:20 AM

The problem with immigration is not just with the immigrants who refuse to assimilate into American society. It's also with the illogical PC thinking Americans who want to coddle Hispanic immigrants by issuing documents, signs, etc., in English and in Spanish. What about all the other immigrants who speak different languages? This puts Spanish speaking immigrants on a separate and superior level from immigrants of other countries that don't speak Spanish. Why are these dopey PC Americans so willing to give up American culture and turn this country into little Central America? If I move to Russia or Norway or Egypt or India should I expect the governments of those countries to provide me with special English translations of all their documents, signs, etc.? No, I should assimilate myself into their society by learning the local language. Why is that so hard for the PCers to understand? It's not politically incorrect to expect immigrants to assimilate. In fact it's an insult to Americans to do otherwise. So why should immigrants want or even need to assimilate when so many Americans are willing to allow our country to turn into little San Salvador? Eliminate the incentive to assimilate and no immigrant will assimilate.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 9:25 AM

I'm sorry, but comparing L.A. or San Francisco to the Dakotas is to compare apples and oranges. They are nothing alike. It proves the old addage that figures don't lie but liars figure (meaning you can pull anything out of meaningless data like this that you want to suit your own agenda). Did it ever occur to the authors of this study that the discrepancies in the responses might possibly be due to the fact they were comparing heavily urbanized megalopolises to the ruralest of rural America?? Gimme a break!

The bottom line is that throughout our history American immigration policy has swung wildly from opening the floodgates to cries of "keep the [insert derogatory name for an ethnic group in question] out!" To me, a far more worthy question of study would be: why is this so? Perhaps we could learn something from that.

Posted by: Huh? | July 25, 2007 9:35 AM

To the Know-Nothing that posted "PC thinking Americans who want to coddle Hispanic immigrants by issuing documents, signs, etc., in English and in Spanish": Have you ever seen pictures of the immigrant communities of a century ago? Did you notice what language all the signs were in? It wasn't English, it was Yiddish or German or Polish or Italian, etc, etc. Again, the pattern of assimilation of today's Hispanic community is no different and no slower then previous waves of immigrants. All the nativists need to crack open a history book before they start spewing their bigoted nonsense. I challenge each and every one of them to PROVE that their immigrant ancestors arrived in this country legally. If they can't produce documentation, then they should be shipped back to whereever their ancestors came from. I, for one, have no proof that my ancestors arrived here legally, thus I guess I better go pack my bags. Ireland here I come!! I've always felt we should give the country back to the native Americans anyway!

Posted by: An Dliodoir | July 25, 2007 9:38 AM

I would suggest that your frustrated Middle School or High School teacher from Fairfax is confronting an issue of class, not ethnic origin. If a teen aims to practice a skilled trade, the college-prep orientation of our schools will not capture his/her attention. Plumbing, HVAC and building trades training teach physics and math as well as manual skills. Reading? Ask your auto mechanic to show you his treasured library of shop manuals. All of the trades above are now in the digital age, with computerized controls and diagnostic tools. Many so-called drop-outs are simply leaving school to get a real education in the trades. Until implicit class discrimination is recognized and modern vocation ed courses are introduced, many students -- of all ethnic origins -- will be left behind.

Posted by: Mike Licht | July 25, 2007 9:46 AM

Talk about a Know Nothing, who put those signs up a century ago? The immigrants themselves not the government put those Polish and Yiddish signs up. Why are you so willing to give up your country and your home to illegal immigrants? When you have people into your home do you allow them to disrespect your house? Of course you don't so why should I or anyone else allow immigrants to disrespect my home?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 9:46 AM

I think this wave of immigration is slightly different only because of the aforementioned pc-urge to coddle them with bi-lingual stuff. This probably has to do with the fact that almost all immigrants coming from Latin America speak a single language as opposed to the numerous languages spoken by European immigrants in previous waves. Generally though this wave will only be as different as our society choses to make it. I say bring them in, let them work, but theres no need to infantalize them or make everything English and Spanish, particularly if it has to do with tax dollar supported infrastructure or education. In a generation or two they'll be ordering their big macs in English like all the rest of us.

Posted by: Some Idiot | July 25, 2007 9:47 AM

Two comments: first, one big disconnect between the current generation of immigration and the "golden age of immigration" (i.e., the 19th-early 20th century when many of European immigrants arrived which many Americans view so romantically) is that in the earlier era even the "native" population had very low expectations of local government in terms of services. That has certainly changed in 2007, especially in bedroom suburbs like PW county. We now expect the county to provide basic services that before would have been the realm of churches, family, or private concerns. And not only that, we expect them to be delivered efficiently. Second, the comments from the teacher show the danger of allowing the immigration debate to devolve into empty celebration of "diversity" for diversity's sake. Those kids who give a half-***ed effort in school have probably been trotted out for years in native costume to show how diverse the students are. They have probably been lauded from the day they entered the school system on how brave they are. It's no wonder that they feel no personal impulse to work, learn, assimilate, yet alone show teachers respect. And this brings attention to another key difference, the current generation of immigrants has a very loud lobby that is always prepared to blame government and inhospitable natives for the immigrants' own shortcomings.

Posted by: Paul | July 25, 2007 9:58 AM

Anti-immigrants are the same now as they've always been: scared racists with a warped sense of history. I'll eat my words the first time I find an anti-immigrant post something about the Irish, Polish and Russian illegal aliens in this country.

Posted by: Brendan | July 25, 2007 10:03 AM

Once again you seem to dance around the point . . . WE ARE SWAMPED. You're citing studies that compare cultural characteristics when by and large the issues Americans have are motivated by the sheer numbers. The Republicans have done everything they can to import indentured servants, legalizing the first wave of immigrants in 1986 under Reagan, passing the Temporary Protected Status program allowing millions of Salvadorans and Hondurans to remain here instead of developing their own countries, and still more come illegally, 12 million more. Americans do not have a problem with diversity, in fact they love it and embrace our cultural heritage as an immigrant nation, but like any good recipe, when you add too much of one ingredient the flavor is ruined. The sheer numbers are changing the face of our country, how hard is it for you understand this? How many ways does it have to be said? In 15 short years hispanics supplanted black Americans as the largest minority group in our country. 15 years! Please, please, stop trying to sugar coat this and look at the issue honestly. We've already accepted millions of hispanics under "gimme programs" like legalization and TPS, now to legalize a second wave would change the face of our country forever, perhaps beyond what would be recognizable by the founding fathers. They refuse to assimilate, and acknowledge among themselves that this is colonization and think that the country belongs to them anyway because Mexico lost a war in 1812.

We have to acknowledge that we live in a world of limited resources, so when resources are taken out (paid under the table, not paying taxes, free emergency health care, free school, etc.) we are spending America's resources without a return. We simply cannot allow our economy to be systematically dismantled until we have more people than can be supported (like Mexico, Brazil, insert any other catholic country with uncontrolled population growth).

Illegal immigrants depress wages beyond what Americans can afford to accept. In any event legalizing so we can keep your lattes cheap is the same argument used by the South during the nullification crisis (and subsequent civil war) to advocate slavery and indentured servitude.

Start being honest man, really.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 10:09 AM

Once again you seem to dance around the point . . . WE ARE SWAMPED. You're citing studies that compare cultural characteristics when by and large the issues Americans have are motivated by the sheer numbers. The Republicans have done everything they can to import indentured servants, legalizing the first wave of immigrants in 1986 under Reagan, passing the Temporary Protected Status program allowing millions of Salvadorans and Hondurans to remain here instead of developing their own countries, and still more come illegally, 12 million more. Americans do not have a problem with diversity, in fact they love it and embrace our cultural heritage as an immigrant nation, but like any good recipe, when you add too much of one ingredient the flavor is ruined. The sheer numbers are changing the face of our country, how hard is it for you understand this? How many ways does it have to be said? In 15 short years hispanics supplanted black Americans as the largest minority group in our country. 15 years! Please, please, stop trying to sugar coat this and look at the issue honestly. We've already accepted millions of hispanics under "gimme programs" like legalization and TPS, now to legalize a second wave would change the face of our country forever, perhaps beyond what would be recognizable by the founding fathers. They refuse to assimilate, and acknowledge among themselves that this is colonization and think that the country belongs to them anyway because Mexico lost a war in 1812.

We have to acknowledge that we live in a world of limited resources, so when resources are taken out (paid under the table, not paying taxes, free emergency health care, free school, etc.) we are spending America's resources without a return. We simply cannot allow our economy to be systematically dismantled until we have more people than can be supported (like Mexico, Brazil, insert any other catholic country with uncontrolled population growth).

Illegal immigrants depress wages beyond what Americans can afford to accept. In any event legalizing so we can keep your lattes cheap is the same argument used by the South during the nullification crisis (and subsequent civil war) to advocate slavery and indentured servitude.

Start being honest man, really.

Posted by: DPoniatowski | July 25, 2007 10:09 AM

I have a very different experience than the Fairfax teacher. For my high school, which has a large immigrant population, the break-down is more like eight hispanic students who care for every hispanic student who doesn't care. That ratio is definitely no worse than the general student population.

I teach completely in English and so does the rest of the ESOL department. I think there may be a misconception about the prevalence of bilingual education in this area.

I chose to teach ESOL students, so for me, working with immigrants is not "a burden." I think if you interview all the ESOL/ESL teachers in the area, a majority would say they consider it a calling of sorts to teach these student populations. At our school, the ESOL teachers actually enjoy teaching the immigrant students and find the mentoring type of relationships formed to be especially fulfilling. Since I also teach upper-level science to "mainstream" students, I have been able to compare the different student populations. My observations are that the interactions between ESOL teachers and their students tend to be more personal and optimistic than between mainstream teachers and their students.

I set up a shadowing day last year where mainstream honors students paired up with recent immigrant students to shadow each others' classes. In the reflections, every single one of the mainstream students noted how positive the interactions were between the ESOL students and their ESOL teachers, in comparison with their own interactions with teachers. They also noted across the board how hard the immigrant students had to work to gain proficiency in English. There was only one mention across all the students about discipline problems.

My point in sharing these experiences is not to get into the policy debate; it's just to offer a counter-experience to what the Fairfax County teacher experienced.

Posted by: Teacher in MoCo | July 25, 2007 10:19 AM

It really saddens me that many people have to have someone, or a group of people, to look down on to feel better about themselves. I resent this "us v. them" attitude with immigrants that I see everyday, even here in DC area where people are supposedly more open-minded than down south, where I come from. My husband is a first generation immigrant and we watch tv in English only but speak mostly Spanish at home. We have friends who speak English and Spanish. We eat big macs but we also love to get pupusas. I think he has enriched my life and I embrace his language and culture just as he embraces mine. We are a mixed family and I think it is wonderful to share two worlds and get the best of both. But when people attack immigrants, it hits close to home. People seem to take offense when we speak Spanish, but why? Because they can't understand it? It has been a great asset to be bilingual, why should we have to hide it?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 10:20 AM

To the last poster with the mixed family,

I don't think anyone is angered by speaking Spanish. Hell my mom immigrated here from France with my grandma and aunt and in gatherings with her side of the family French is often spoken. What angers people is an institutionalization of it paid for by everyone else. When that side of my family arrived a few decades ago they went to normal American schools and as far as I can tell have never insisted on being presented with official documents or education in their mother tongue and they've done just fine. So please speak Spanish, just don't make everyone else pay for the government to have to do everything in 2 languages.

Posted by: Some Idiot | July 25, 2007 10:35 AM

Marc, this qualifies as race baiting. This column is horrific.

Posted by: DCer | July 25, 2007 10:35 AM

You make a good point, Brendan, but by characterizing all of those who might have a different perspective than you as "anti-immigrant" or "scared racists" you do little to promote honest dialogue and debate.

Posted by: Emeril | July 25, 2007 10:36 AM

To DPoniatowski:
You said: "In any event legalizing so we can keep your lattes cheap is the same argument used by the South during the nullification crisis (and subsequent civil war) to advocate slavery and indentured servitude."
Earlier in your post, you also pointed out: "In 15 short years hispanics supplanted black Americans as the largest minority group in our country. 15 years!"

So, didn't Africans pour into the United States through even stronger mechanisms of inequity? They became the first wave of "minorities" in the USA. Since you are comparing the new wave of hispanic immigrants to slaves and indentured servants, the obvious questions are: Should the US have kicked out all the slaves and their descendants back to Africa, instead of ratifying the 14th Amendment? Why did the country seek to incorporate them as citizens at all?

What do you want, exactly? Tighter borders? The deportation of current illegal immigrants? For the illegal immigrants to stay but never gain legalization? It's unclear from your post why you would compare the current wave of 'indentured servants' to the previous slaves/indentured servants if you're not willing to concede the same rights given to slaves after the Civil War.

Posted by: Response | July 25, 2007 10:56 AM

Interesting that you've brought up the research by Robert Putnam. To deal with this honestly, you should know that Putnam INTENTIONALLY held the publication of his research until AFTER the Senate killed the immigration bill because he was so pro-Immigration bill.

Secondly, the research makes adjustments for the size of the city, so that when you compare LAX and SFO to BFE you aren't comparing apples to oranges.

Posted by: Leesburger | July 25, 2007 11:01 AM

A few points for clarification for the misinformation being spread. . .

To the person who said "Islam you're next!". . . Whoa - do you need to revisit your social studies classes in grade school?! Islam is clearly a religion, not an ethnic group. . . There are some very "White American" Muslims, Albanian Muslims, Malaysian Muslims, Pakistani Muslims, Chinese Muslims, South American Muslims and, of course one of the smaller ethnic groups that gets the most notoriety, Arab Muslims and so on and so forth, that fully retain their "cultural identity" but also maintain their faith and practice Islam. . . Your statement was not only just as ignorant and dangerous as saying, "Hey Catholics and Jewish folks - you're next!". . . it was borderline French! (just kidding!) The mix and match of cultures and freely practiced religions throughout America make it as unique as it is . . . take that away and you have no America. . . . And if you want to get technical about it - unless we/you are Native American - we're all immigrants in some way or another no matter how many generations back you have to go. So respect your hosts and your governing bodies, respect those who are here and respect the right for those who wish to come (legally). . . .


To the person who asked that, if they go to countries like Russia, Norway, Egypt or India, should they expect translations of their documents in English?. . . The answer they gave is incorrect. Those countries actually can and already do. . . Particularly, in both Egypt and India, where one of their official languages in each respective country is already English. . . All over the world, most countries allow and accept translations of their documents into other languages. . . And I guess another way to think about it is that, if things had turned out differently a few hundred years ago, we may not even be speaking English - the official language may have been Spanish! Either way - it is completely unreasonable to expect everyone to come to America (or any other country for that matter) "pre-assimilated" if you will. Many people go to a foreign country to improve or learn the native language while they are there. And believe me they suffer by not becoming literate in the language of the land more than you think. . . . . So it's not coddling to offer things in another language, it is about convenience and taking preemptive accountability measures to protect the providers of the products or service more than anything else. . .

Posted by: random point | July 25, 2007 11:04 AM

DCer, you conjure up the very worst in what is usually described up as "PC." If you follow Marc you would know that last week he got bombarded for remarks some saw as too pro-immigrant. Here is giving a look at the other side. What do you have when you put them together? A complex portrait of a complex problem. If you think sloganeering and name-calling helps solve this problem, then go right ahead.

Posted by: Emeril | July 25, 2007 11:08 AM

I am going to go out on a limb and make an assumption that may be unfair: I am guessing that many of those who are immigrant are the same folks who claim to be adherents of "slow growth." If you want all the undocumented immigrants in our community to have the right to stay and bring their families, who will then bring their families,... then you need to build the homes, schools, and roads that it will take to accommodate them.

Posted by: $0.02 | July 25, 2007 11:18 AM

Another difference between immigrants now and immigrants then, is that returning to their home country is a realistic possibility for today's immigrants. When my grandparents immigrated from Eastern Europe, they could barely afford the passage. Returning to Europe, even to visit, cost too much. They knew coming over that they would never return and had to assimilate. As it was, my grandmother never learned to read and write English very well.

Posted by: wma | July 25, 2007 11:38 AM

The problem with the current wave of immigration is that it is a tidal wave of Hispanic persons. There are just too many all at once. And, of course, illegal immigration only makes the problem worse.

Posted by: jj | July 25, 2007 11:42 AM

"We've already accepted millions of hispanics under "gimme programs" like legalization and TPS,"

TPS was as a direct result of the fact that the Reagan administration was helping to fund the civil wars that caused many Central Americans to be forced to flee their homes. Since we had our hand in the situation, the government couldn't very well give them political asylum, so TPS was their answer. The US has more influence and impact in Latin American politics and its economy than many Americans care to admit. Just something to think about...

Also, I have to laugh when people talk about "immigrants". Really they are talking about hispanics. Be honest with yourselves, people. If people are truly talking about homeland security and protecting our borders, I would suggest that they take a long hard look at our most vulnerable border, which lies to the north. And finally, this whole business of breaking the law - people make it sound like immigrants are commiting murder! Illegaly entering the country is not a felony, it is a misdemeanor. Obviously people should not be breaking laws but hearing some people's posts, you would think we were talking about the Unibomber!

Posted by: lca | July 25, 2007 11:59 AM

as wma states, technology has made a world of difference between today's immigrants, illegal or otherwise, and those from the late 1800s/early 1900s. When the latter decided to come to the US, they knew it was a permanent, no-looking-back, decision because of the cost and time involved. Now, with relatively cheap airfares, super highways, etc., it's much easier to return to their native lands on an occasional basis. That obviously changes the dynamic of immigration. But, then, we do live in a global economy. Whether the new dynamic proves to be better or worse in the long run remains to be seen.

Posted by: eo mcmars | July 25, 2007 12:07 PM

Look, when doing all the whining and complaining about Spanish speaking, English speakers forget one fact: For MANY if not MOST people, IT'S VERY DIFFICULT TO BECOME FLUENT IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE ONCE YOU BECOME AN ADULT. It has to do with the way the human brain develops.

Yes, some people do manage to pick up new languages at the drop of a hat, just as some other people have a talent for music or dance or computer programming. Others try and try and the new language never seems to stick.

It doesn't have to do with basic intelligence. I have a master's degree and I scored 780 out of 800 on the verbal GRE, but I am frustratingly monolingual. I'm so good at English that other languages don't stick in my head.

One set of my grandparents came to the U.S. in 1911, as young adults, and yet 20 years later my grandmother was enrolled in an "advanced beginner" English class. Twenty years in this country, sending her two sons to school, and yet she was still an "advanced beginner" in English. Now, she died before I was born, so I never got to hear her speak.

In my job I get to associate with a lot of people who come from all over the world, and some speak English just fine whereas others stumble all over the place. The point is, they are all HUMAN BEINGS together and deserve to be treated with a modicum of respect.

Posted by: Prince George's | July 25, 2007 12:10 PM

2 cents had an interesting comment about the "slow growth" movement vis a vis immigration. The "slow growth" crowd in Loudoun County are usually not-very-early-but-not-very-late immigrants to the area (arriving in the mid to late 1990's) and not the people who have lived here for 50 years. They are usually more "progressive" since they are proponents of strict zoning versus property rights.

It's interesting that the "slow growth" immigration crowd is also the not-very-early-but-not-very-late crowd (arriving in the US in the early 1900's). They tend to be more centrist (the labor unions on the left and the non-corporate interests on the right).

The process of illegal immigration is much too easy, and the process of legal immigration is much too difficult. Until you address those two issues in that order, the citizens of the US will not be content. You can't blame people for wanting to come here for a better life, but you can blame the government for not mkaing the process more controlled and fair.

Posted by: Leesburger | July 25, 2007 12:22 PM

My wife is an immigrant and one of the reasons she assimilated more quickly than my grandmother, the immigrant, is that she had a greater and more immediate contact with English language and culture through the media than was available 20, 50 or 100 years ago. While my n-great grandfather, Nathaniel, landed in Point of Rocks MD in 1778 our family has tended to recharge from each successive wave of immigration. Probably because we have lived in diverse areas. My children, nieces and nephews have grandparents, and parents from six different countries and it hasn't had a notable impact on their american-ness (americanism, americanosity, ???). In fact since we have had seven teachers, 2 engineers, 3 veterans, one Peace Corps Volunteer, two journalists and a whole bunch of stable nuclear families in the past 3 generations alone we are likely better foundational material for our society than a lot of non-immigrant families. The real problem of assimilation that I see is that there are many people who refuse to assimilate to changes in our society that make us stronger and more vital.

Posted by: Chris | July 25, 2007 12:36 PM

I agree someidiot. its not my fault they come here not knowing how to speak the english language.

Posted by: wisedecision | July 25, 2007 12:48 PM

"It's unclear from your post why you would compare the current wave of 'indentured servants' to the previous slaves/indentured servants if you're not willing to concede the same rights given to slaves after the Civil War."

After what the slaves went through, the 14th Amendment is the least that the U.S. could do. The immigrants here today aren't whipped, and forced to work in bad conditions. They are not sold apart from their families, or bred like prize steers. They weren't dragged from their country in chains. They aren't stripped of their cultural values. They aren't told to forget their homeland. Today's illegal immigrants have so many more rights and luxuries than African slaves ever had. Don't forget that.

Posted by: YourStrawberry23 | July 25, 2007 1:08 PM

C'mon now...

The reason why South and North Dakotans trust their neighbors more is due to the relatively low turnover rate of the local population. In urban areas like LA or SF, people rent living spaces for short periods of time (months, a few years). Whereas, in the Dakotas, there is a longer history of a sedentary community.

Robert Putnam must have realized this. Either Putnam's analysis is weak, or Marc didn't interpret it correctly.

Posted by: Dan | July 25, 2007 1:09 PM

We have become a nation of Xenophobes! Two weeks ago when I was blown away by my "good" neighbors with the "Stirrup resolution", I thought I should become involved in the debate. Let folks know what "an illegal alien" like me has become. Served in the Marine Corps, went to college, married a white woman, named my kids American names, stopped speaking Spanish at home, and became a Republican. I have followed the "American" recepie in good faith. To my surprise, none of what I've done matters. The fact is that I'm not WHITE. All of the sudden, I'm an economic and cultural threat to the strongest nation in the world. A nation that is Americanizing the world, economically, politically, and cultually. And I find myself talking to a bunch xenophobes with historical knowledge less than my 9th graders. Who can't tell the difference between the War of 1812 against England and Mexican-American War in 1848 or the Spanish-American of 1898. I cannot believe that everyone has become a fan of Pat Buchanan. Everything on this page sounds like his last book. No wonder he's such a fan of the Nazis.

Posted by: Publius | July 25, 2007 1:35 PM

We have become a nation of Xenophobes! Two weeks ago when I was blown away by my "good" neighbors with the "Stirrup resolution", I thought I should become involved in the debate. Let folks know what "an illegal alien" like me has become. Served in the Marine Corps, went to college, married a white woman, named my kids American names, stopped speaking Spanish at home, and became a Republican. I have followed the "American" recepie in good faith. To my surprise, none of what I've done matters. The fact is that I'm not WHITE. All of the sudden, I'm an economic and cultural threat to the strongest nation in the world. A nation that is Americanizing the world, economically, politically, and cultually. And I find myself talking to a bunch xenophobes with historical knowledge less than my 9th graders. Who can't tell the difference between the War of 1812 against England and Mexican-American War in 1848 or the Spanish-American of 1898. I cannot believe that everyone has become a fan of Pat Buchanan. Everything on this page sounds like his last book. No wonder he's such a fan of the Nazis.

Posted by: Publius | July 25, 2007 1:35 PM

We have become a nation of Xenophobes! Two weeks ago when I was blown away by my "good" neighbors with the "Stirrup resolution", I thought I should become involved in the debate. Let folks know what "an illegal alien" like me has become. Served in the Marine Corps, went to college, married a white woman, named my kids American names, stopped speaking Spanish at home, and became a Republican. I have followed the "American" recepie in good faith. To my surprise, none of what I've done matters. The fact is that I'm not WHITE. All of the sudden, I'm an economic and cultural threat to the strongest nation in the world. A nation that is Americanizing the world, economically, politically, and cultually. And I find myself talking to a bunch xenophobes with historical knowledge less than my 9th graders. Who can't tell the difference between the War of 1812 against England and Mexican-American War in 1848 or the Spanish-American of 1898. I cannot believe that everyone has become a fan of Pat Buchanan. Everything on this page sounds like his last book. No wonder he's such a fan of the Nazis.

Posted by: Publius | July 25, 2007 1:35 PM

Marc:

The first obvious thing about the study is that LA and SF are quite a bit different from North and South Dakota in that they are huge urban areas and the Dakotas are not. I'd argue that trust is necessarily lower in urban areas regardless of homogeneity. It's just the nature of living in cities - where being too trusting means you are essentially a sucker waiting to be taken advantage of.

Posted by: Hillman | July 25, 2007 1:59 PM

Looks like Godwin's Law has been proven once again...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_Law

Posted by: Rosslyn | July 25, 2007 2:00 PM

The article is well written and well intentioned. Unfortunately, all those point are mute because to an American an illegal is an illegal. They all must be rounded up and deported. Prince William county missed an opportunity to prevent those illegals from putting down roots. By reqiring the banks in the county to require proof of status for a loan or to open a bank account.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 2:11 PM

Yes, you are correct, I made a mistake in stating 1812, meant to refer to the Texas War for Independence, 1830s, or other conflicts with Mexico through the 1800s. A typo, which doesn't make you any smarter or anyone else any dumber. You are laughably off base with your comments, and you're not going to get a medal or change opinions by acting like you're so much smarter than everybody else (inferring you don't make mistakes). I bet you had to spend 20 minutes looking up the dates anyway. The argument remains, many Mexicans justify flooding in and working and living under the radar claiming the Southwestern states were taken from them (while they still subjugate and exploit the native populations of their own country, a la Chiapas, and maintain that unspoken caste between Mexicans of "Spanish" and natives -Maquiladora sound familiar?)

As for the other poster comparing the 14th amendment with legalization, you too are off base. Republicans and their pro-corporate, pro-business policies want to exploit human labor, such as illegals who are essentially forced to come here becuase their own country refuses or can't keep up with with the population growth. Mexico nearly became an industrialized nation under Salinas in the 1980s, experiencing tremendous growth, but it couldn't overcome the population growth and finally the currency collapsed because of a corrupt central banking system. 3 million squatters in Mexico city (I'm sorry, lets call it Tenochitlan) alone, we don't want that here. And the TPS gimme program is now almost 30 years old. They keep renewing it, as recently as this year in fact. This has nothing to do with Reagan attempting (illegally) to fight communism.

Hispanics are all to quick to condemn us as anti-immigrant, or xenophobic (ooo, snap, congratulations for taking sociology 101) culture haters, but as I stated before, the world has limited resources. It is our sovereign right to manage our resources as efficiently as possible. America simply cannot allow illegal immigrants to continue absconding with its resources. And further, I for one don't want a society with a permanent underclass of indentured servants.

Illegal immigrants should stop blaming America and blame their own countries for not creating better conditions for its society. But they won't, because they know its a population growth issue, and they simply refuse to acknowledge it and want to shove the problem off on us. They know it, we know it, you know it.

We need to secure our borders and enforce our own immigration laws, not allowing them to be undermined by the Republicans efforts to force exploited labor on us. Once we get the illegal population down, our humanitarian efforts would be better served by trying to strengthen the infrastructure in central and South America. Essentially, we should just pay people to go back, and then increase aid to the countries. They're all going to go communist anyway, which is what happens when you have too many people and not enough resources (ooo, snap, bet you're gonna go do some more research).

Posted by: DPoniatowski | July 25, 2007 2:22 PM

"The process of illegal immigration is much too easy, and the process of legal immigration is much too difficult. Until you address those two issues in that order, the citizens of the US will not be content. You can't blame people for wanting to come here for a better life, but you can blame the government for not mkaing the process more controlled and fair."
Leesburger, this is a good summary of the problem, although I would venture to guess that people resort to illegal means due to the fact that coming here legally is nigh impossible. Just as an example, my mom's family is in Mexico and is lucky enough to be upper middle class, with good jobs and property, and yet they could not even get tourist visas to come for one week to my sister's wedding. If this is the case for people with little "flight risk", who are coming to spend money as tourists to the US, I can only imagine how difficult it is for an uneducated and unemployed campesino to aquire a green card. I think that an overhaul of the INS would be a good start to ensuring that people have opportunities to arrive in this country legally.

Posted by: lca | July 25, 2007 2:29 PM

To DPoniatowski:
It's amusing that you're accusing someone else on this board of trying to "act so much smarter than anyone else." That's exactly what your posts try to do. If you could just type coherently, without mashing together all sorts of comparisons, you might be more convincing. Alas, you're not.
You're the one who brought up the indentured servants; I gave you a way out, but you insisted on calling them that again in your latest post. So, you forced the questions about the 14th amendment that you still haven't answered (ooh, snap, go take some writing-to-communicate classes). I suspect you completely missed the point behind the questions.
Another point you missed is that your initial rant is misplaced as a response to this article. Fisher's article does not distinguish between illegal and legal immigrants, but you are writing about illegal immigration. You write "hispanic" or "illegal immigrant" throughout your posts without any pattern. It seems like you are using the terms interchangeably. Are you?

Posted by: Response | July 25, 2007 2:53 PM

I find the commentaries from the two teachers-one from Fairfax County and one from Montgomery County most interesting. It sounds like the FCPS teacher is burned out and I am sure it reflects in her interaction in the classroom with her students. Kids typically show respect when they are given it by the adults. Maybe there is a lesson there. With all the problems in FCPS with horrendous drop-out rates and large minority achievement gaps, FCPS's solution to the problem was to defy NCLB and not even test the ESL kids. They finally backed down because they were going to lose federal funds, but the whole ridiculous episode reflects how the school system has no focus on the problem. Kudos to the MCPS teacher-we could use more teachers like her in FCPS.

Posted by: takebackourschools | July 25, 2007 2:56 PM

To YourStrawberry23:
I agree with you. That's why I was pressing DPoniatowski about his or her last paragraph (comparing the South's reluctance to give up slaves/indentured servants to "legalizing to keep [our] lattes cheap.")

Posted by: Response | July 25, 2007 3:07 PM

US Constitution. Article I, Section 8 :
"The Congress shall have power ... to establish a uniform rule of naturalization".

Posted by: xyz | July 25, 2007 3:08 PM

Re earlier post that illiegal immigration is "not a felony but a misdemeanor." It is NEITHER. Entering and living in the country is NOT A CRIME. That many people continue to believe just shows the ignorance and lack of any effort to check basic facts taht characterizes so much of the public debate on immigration.

Illegal immigrants are liable for a civil violation only, like a business with improper zoning or licensing. This means they are not "convicted" of anything and cannot be "punished." (deportation is not considered punishment!)

If entering/living in the country without legal entry papers was a crime, illegal immigrant would enjoy all the rights of the criminally accused: trial by jury, appointed counsel for the indigent, innocent until proven guilty, protections regarding pre-trial detention.

As it is, by deeming illegal immigration a civil violation only, the government may hold a summary hearing before a single administrative judge against an unrepresented immigrant who may have been shipped off to a rural county jail (yes, they are kept in jails even though charged with no crime) for months of detention prior to the hearing.

Posted by: mkn | July 25, 2007 3:14 PM

mkn, you've been attending too many Immigration Lawyer's conferences. Law is explicit : Any alien who (1) enters or attempts to enter the United States
at any time or place other than as designated by immigration
officers, or (2) eludes examination or inspection by immigration
officers, or (3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United
States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the
willful concealment of a material fact, shall, for the first
commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18 or
imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both, and, for a subsequent
commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18, or
imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.

USCode/Titlt8/Chapter12/SubcahpII/PartVIII

Posted by: xyz | July 25, 2007 3:28 PM

Every country, every community should strive for population stability now, and many for population reduction in the future, from falling birth rates. The Earth is not growing. Indeed, the droughts, floods, wildfires and earthqakes of just the past couple of years show that the area available for human habitation is probably shrinking. The population projections for the Washington area alone sound crazy. Politicians react by saying "tear down small houses and apartments and build big high-rises in their place." There is nothing remotely progressive about that.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 3:44 PM

Every country, every community should strive for population stability now, and many for population reduction in the future, from falling birth rates. The Earth is not growing. Indeed, the droughts, floods, wildfires and earthqakes of just the past couple of years show that the area available for human habitation is probably shrinking. The population projections for the Washington area alone sound crazy. Politicians react by saying "tear down small houses and apartments and build big high-rises in their place." There is nothing remotely progressive about that.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 3:44 PM

lca, I feel for you with the beaurocracy. I have many legal immigrant (H1B) co-workers who who have been here for years and have watched their Green Card applications disappear into the "backlog queue" at INS (otherwise known as gone-and-lost-forever). If it wasn't such a trajedy, it would be a comedy of errors.

Publius, My uncle was an illegal immigrant from Mexico who gained his citizenship by enlisting, just like you. Thank you for your service. What you have done has been to assimilate yourself into mainstream America. You are proof that it happens. There are differences between your arrival and now, however. The scale of the current wave of illegal immigration from Latin America has allowed more recent illegal immigrants to live and work here without assimilating as quickly as you have. This has caused some growing pains. Not all who suggest limited immigration do so for xenophobic reasons. To generalize that all arguing for tightening immigration are xenophobic is equivalent with saying that Latino immigrants aren't becoming American. There are examples both for and against such an argument. The truth is much more complex than these broad statements can begin to convey. To disagree with someone is common, but to label your opponents as xenophobic and call them a Nazi because they don't agree with you is disrespectful of yourself and weakens the argument you support.

Posted by: Leesburger | July 25, 2007 3:47 PM

I wonder how many posters who favor illegal immigrants in our communities actually live in formerly-middle class neighborhoods surrounded by them. I have a feeling it's not many. I have a feeling that those of us whose neighborhoods have transformed around us understand far more deeply than many Post readers what is happening in America - the law is being made into a joke, and the social safety net is tearing.

Posted by: Scott M | July 25, 2007 3:47 PM

Is it possible -just POSSIBLE- for Marc Fisher to use the word ILLEGAL once? Yesterday's immigrants came legally. Is this rocket science? Most of today's immigrants cross our border illegally.

Posted by: muskrat | July 25, 2007 4:04 PM

Is it possible -just POSSIBLE- for Marc Fisher to use the word ILLEGAL once? Yesterday's immigrants came legally. Is this rocket science? Most of today's immigrants cross our border illegally.

Posted by: muskrat | July 25, 2007 4:04 PM

My own theory is that television is the big difference why hispanics will become assimilated more rapidly than earlier immigrant groups.

My answer to the above is... Not if hispanic language television keeps popping up at the rate it currently is on cable TV!

Posted by: SHF | July 25, 2007 4:09 PM

To attempt to generalize the results of the Rand study to today's immigrants is a statistical no-no UNLESS you can argue that today's population of immigrants is essentially the same as the population on which the study was based AND that conditions that previous generations of immigrants faced still hold. However, demographically, today's immigrants are less educated, more heavily here illegally, and more heavily here from Latin America with Mexico alone sending more than 20 percent of legal immigrants.
Nor are conditions the same. Even in the past 40 years, the U.S. has come to require a college degree instead of a high school diploma for entree into many entry level jobs. Pure willingness to work doesn't count for much anymore without the abilities to back it up. Even low skilled jobs such as running a cash register or taking orders for a fast food place require some knowledge of computers and basic literacy.

Posted by: Ali | July 25, 2007 4:22 PM

Random point--As you point out, English is an official language of India. So why shouldn't it be HERE?

Posted by: Ali | July 25, 2007 4:28 PM

Random point--As you point out, English is an official language of India. So why shouldn't it be HERE without raising cries of "racism"?

Posted by: Ali | July 25, 2007 4:29 PM

I love how you dumb trash pigs keep harping on the word illegal. Have you ever driven more than the speed limit? Turn yourself in to the police. How many of you dumb pigs smoke pot? Turn yourself into the police. Underage drinking? Turn yourself into the police. The point is, you dumb pigs love to point out what is illegal whenever it's convenient to you. I love the fact that America is being overrun. I hope they push all you dumb white trash pigs back to Europe.

Posted by: Fred | July 25, 2007 4:56 PM

Fred, thanks for keeping the conversation on a high plane.

Posted by: xyz | July 25, 2007 5:14 PM

Marc's comments were very astute (in an earlier column I think) pointing out how muddy the whole legal vs. illegal immigrant moniker was 80-100 years ago. Remember Sen. Pete Dominici (i think)crying remembering his italian illegal immigrant mother being arrested in their house in the 1930s? Many people stowed away, snuck in, overstayed their "welcome" and then went on to father the greatest generation that fought in WWII. Two excellent reads on the last wave of immigrants: Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives; and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (forget the author). The first shows the really squalid conditions of NYC ghettos and the virulently rascist way people were viewed, though the observations about irish/italian/polsih gangs were eye openers. the second book shows how even in insular communities the values of education and freedom resonated with the children of immigrants, though not ALL of them. Not saying this is an easy question; it NEVER has been for our country. But some historical perspective is valuable. my 2 cents.

Posted by: rmb | July 25, 2007 5:33 PM

From a historical and demographic perspective, Ali's post is so error-laden it's difficult where to begin.

Immigration is fueled in no small part by the availability of literally millions of jobs in the United States on farms, in hotel housekeeping and in restaurants. Demographics and employment data simply don't bear his assertion out that immigrants need a college degree to find work. They come across the border precisely because they CAN, indeed find quick work, often paying 5 to 10 times what they can make at home.

If we enacted reasonable immigration reform, we could allow LEGAL immigration. The quotas in place are absurdly low given the demands of the modern job market.

As for education, my Italian forbears had all of 3 years education--that's why, as very nearly illiterate young men, they left Sicily (along with a fairly large contingent of poorly educated countrymen0 for a shot a new beginning.

Posted by: M_North | July 25, 2007 5:36 PM

M_North, are you saying we should allow legal immigration until the wages in Zimbabwe are the same as the US ?

Posted by: xyz | July 25, 2007 6:06 PM

They need to learn English, I just don't want to pay for it.

Posted by: notabeliever | July 25, 2007 6:17 PM

They need to learn English, I just don't want to pay for it.

Posted by: notabeliever | July 25, 2007 6:17 PM

What is that dance called? You know, the one where you constantly avoid the point? No one has offered any response on the real issue, doesn't America have a right to manage its own resources for its own people? It does. Relying on sensationilistic accusations (OMG< YOU XENOPHOBES< O< THE tragedy) it doesn't change the economic reality. Nitpicking at the messenger does nothing to address the issues. Indentured servitude as an analogy is on point, when a person does something out of so-called economic necessity, means they have to accept the conditions. Allowing illegal aliens, the majority of which are hispanic due to their geographical proximity and uncontrolled population growth, to be exploited is inhumane and immoral. To allow them to live and work at the expense of our economy reduces the quality of life we could provide for our own citizens - it drains our system. One wrong does not justify two rights, America is not responsible for the inability of illegals' home countries from developing their own economies and dealling with their own population, and should not have to bear the burden. The intensity of the migratory stream and stubborn refusal of illegal aliens to assimilate exacerbates negative feelings about this burden, and its just plain rude and ungracious.
The 14th amendment did not just apply to black Americans, but in the context in which it did it was done to right a wrong. In this case America has done nothing wrong accept have a finger pointed at it accusingly saying "how dare you not take care of us!" Illegal immigrants were not invited, or subjugated, but indeed suffer under contracts of adhesion due to their illegal status.
Seal the borders, enforce the laws, redirect money/resources to direct foreign aid.

Posted by: DPoniatowski | July 25, 2007 7:09 PM

I believe that current immigration to America from Latin America and the Caribbean will, overwhelmingly, be a positive experience. But it won't happen instantaneously. As we can see. Comparing current immigration to what happened a hundred or more years ago doesn't work well because the circumstances are significantly different. Immigration back then was ghettoized, so it didn't impact the middle class. Now many immigrants go directly to the suburbs and, rather quickly, rise toward the middle class -- i.e. Manassas -- and that triggers reactions from other middle-class suburbanites, including, even, immigrants who gained their citizenship earlier. In the meantime, there are the multiple-family dwellings and chickens on the lawn. But in 10 years, this will be a memory. Can we be patient to let the dynamic America experience happen one more, two more, three more, times?

Posted by: Tom Grubisich | July 25, 2007 7:23 PM

M_North, Finally!

Someone is making sense. The ever growing U.S. economy cannot be sustained by the level of births. Same for the European economies. That is why, we have turned a blind eye to illegal entries into our country for the past 25+ years. It does not hurt the economy, it makes up for our lack of manpower. If you look at the last two economic booms, you also see an increase in illegal entries. We don't like the by product, surprise?

Another word to throw out there for us to ponder or blame for our current economic success: Globalization! The integration, interaction and interdependance of our global economy; which includes goods, services, capital, ideas and YES labor forces for our markets.

I have been anti-internationlism up to now. Hearing the arguments against the most poor indegent people who entered the U.S. illegaly because there is no legal way has changed my stand. For those of us who brag about grandma's and grandpas coming in through Ellis Island, I say let's open it up again. But you probably don't know why it was closed to begin with. And you probably never learned about those words written on Lady Liberty: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free"... Some of us would rather bring back the other slogan that was popular in those days: The chinese must Go! or from previous eras: No Irish or Dogs Wanted!

The Times are Changing Dylan used to sing.. and we don't like it, do we?

Posted by: Publius | July 25, 2007 7:24 PM

Great Comment Tom! Class struggle in the Suburbs? could it be?

Posted by: Publius | July 25, 2007 7:32 PM

What is missing from this discussion is the fact that the great waves of immigration in the past slowed down considerably and allowed for assimilation.

The "Great Wave" of immigration started in the 1880's, adding millions of new citizens to the US. The "Great Wave" was diminished by three events: More restrictive immigration laws enacted by Congress in 1924, the worldwide depression in the 1930's, and World War II.

Then in 1965, Congress enacted legislation that started another "Great Wave" of immigration that has steadily increased to record levels today, including 12-20+ million illegal immigrants.

Labor, like consumer products, responds to the market: An abundant supply depresses price, or in this case, wages. It is no accident that the period when the middle class experienced the greatest level of economic progress occurred between 1947 and 1973 while immigration to the US was still relatively low by current standards. Nor is it any surprise that the middle class has experienced economic decline in more recent years after decades of heavy immigration. The economic decline would have been even worse except for the rise of the two-income family as more women entered the work force

It is time to call a time-out again and halt and reverse illegal immigration and to reduce the level of legal immigration.

Posted by: D Flinchum | July 25, 2007 7:36 PM

"The ever growing U.S. economy cannot be sustained by the level of births."

what? This is *another* myth. Got any evidence for this, Publius?

Fact : he U.S. average fertility rate is currently 2.1335 births per woman.

This is enough to replace current population. With productivity growth, this is more than enough to not only "sustain the US economy" but to have economic growth. We should not base policy on pro-hyper-immigration myths and rants by people that just make stuff up.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 7:50 PM

People keep asking what if illegal (or undocumented) people that are living in the U.S. have children that are born on U.S. soil. To that I say: the parents can go back to their native country and take their brood with them. If they want to be responsible parents, they can apply for their kids to be granted citizenship to the native country. Then they can all live together where they should have been in the first place. They needn't come to the U.S. and breed like roaches, then expect to become legal just because they have kids born on U.S. soil. It doesn't work like that in other countries and it shouldn't work like that in the U.S. I'm glad that some counties are taking action against illegal (or undocumented) people, whether it be through code enforcement and/or through document verifications. By the way, the only work visas that should be granted should be for professional/scientific positions. At least these folks have the education, manners, ethics, and the common sense to know what respect means and to respect those around them.

Posted by: My two cents | July 25, 2007 9:06 PM

"the only work visas that should be granted should be for professional/scientific positions"

Why not let domestic market forces determine professional employment? We need strong wages to encourage people to train for these jobs. Subsidizing certain industries and picking winners and losers through special legislation is not the best solution.

"these folks have the education, manners, ethics, and the common sense to know what respect means and to respect those around them"

Is there evidence to suggest that foregin professionals have more "respect" than other people? Has someone measured this?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 9:31 PM

No one on this blog wants an open ended & unlimited immigration policy. What we are arguing for is comprehensive Immigration reform. We also want a stop the suggested immigration witch hunt that some are calling for. This anti-immigrant wave or let's call it as it is "anti-hispanic" wave that so many of us are worried about. Demanding that people who are denied an "elementary" education in their home countries(countries without a civil society or functioning governments) behave like us who are the most educated and sophisticated people on earth is just plain wrong and unrealistic.

The founding fathers never wanted mob rule like it is taking place in our local counties. They feared the masses for good reason (the electoral college?) They wanted the "passions" of the people to be filtered through the congress because they knew exactly what would happen at the local level. Not just the House of Reps where the "people" overwhelminly get what they want but the through the Senate as well, and through the President and finally to be checked by the Judiciary.

Some of us want a quick fix or have a misguided idea of our "Republican" form of government.

Posted by: Publius | July 25, 2007 11:04 PM

Great article, Marc. I think this "transitional" perspective has largely been missing from recent discussions of immigration, or, at least, those discussions have not been informed by research about what is actually happening, as opposed to unsubstantiated opinions and anecdotes based on individual experience.

Did those of you who are concerned about "unwillingness to assimilate" actually look at the study that Marc cited re language learning? Historically, language-learning patterns among immigrants have been like this: the first generation barely stumbles through English; the second generation speaks English well enough to operate in jobs that require English but may speak the language of their parents at home, in church, in community groups; and the third generation is (mostly) monolingual in English. As the article Marc points to indicates, that is exactly what is happening now! The stories other commenters mentioned about their immigrant grandmothers who didn't learn to speak English are consistent with that pattern.

As someone above said, it is very difficult for an adult to learn to speak a new language fluently, but that doesn't mean their children and grandchildren won't.

We should also keep in mind that some of the European languages that (most of) our ancestors spoke disappeared from use relatively recently. As a child in, guess where, North Dakota, I was familiar w/ a church in which services were in Norwegian--an indication not only of the fact that it's difficult for adults to learn a new language but also the idea that immigrant groups--even in the vast, open Midwest--were clustered by ethnicity, a phenomenon that seems to scare us now. In discussing this issue w/ a friend who grew up in Wisconsin, I learned that, in her small-town home, there was a Roman Catholic church where services were conducted in Bohemian and Russian.

In my own Norwegian family, the only thing those of us in the current generation know is the names of a couple of Norwegian pastries that we have at Christmas.

Again, the article Marc links to provides good evidence that these patterns are occurring among recent Hispanic immigrants.

Posted by: THS | July 26, 2007 12:29 AM

Another piece of misinformation that appears in several comments above is that the people who came here in early generations came here and did everything they could to assimilate rapidly because they were too poor to afford to go back to the countries whence they came.

In fact, millions of the people who came to this country in the late 19th and early 20th century worked as a means of generating income that they could use to improve their status in their own countries.

Here's a link to a scholarly book called "Round-Trip to America: The Immigrants Return to Europe, 1880-1930".
http://www.amazon.com/Round-Trip-America-Immigrants-1880-1930-Paperbacks/dp/0801481120

And here's a blurb about it.

" a fine book about the 4,000,000 or so European immigrants to the United States who arrived in this country between 1880 and 1930 and who chose to return to their native lands."

And another blurb--
"In Round-Trip to America, Mark Wyman emphasizes the impact of temporary immigration to America whereby many people came to America not to stay but to advance their standing in their home country to which they would eventually return."

Think of it! Four million is a very large number of people for whom immigration was an economically motivated, short-term arrangement. I'd be very surprised if there weren't a substantial number of such people in the current crop of immigrants. Leaving one's home, living among people who are unfamiliar and, in some cases, hostile, and trying to get along with limited language skills is not, after all, an easy thing to do.

Posted by: THS | July 26, 2007 12:44 AM

This is a very interesting piece, and would seem to open up the discussion/debate quite a lot. Has all sorts of implications.

Posted by: Very Interesting | July 26, 2007 8:26 AM

The government is allowing the creation of a second-class citizenry

In Fairfax and MoCo why are the following things still occuring

1. Documents being printed in other languages other than English

2. Day labor sites funded by taxpayer dollars. Why do these places still exist. Stick one ICE person there deport the illegals and fine/arrest the employers who come.

3. Poltical pandering mostly by democrats to largley hispanic voters to maintain elective office

The solution

English only
High school with multiple tracks college, trade etc
Enforcement of laws deportation AND prosecution of employers for illegal hiring

Posted by: Major Differences | July 26, 2007 9:40 AM

Previous immigrants didn't sneak over the border or come in 747s. Is that different?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 10:00 AM

mkn, thanks for the clarification of the law. I was under the impression that as of this summer, Congress had changed the civil violation into a midemeanor charge. People have reacted to undocumented immigrants as if they are hardened criminals for crossing a border.

my 2 cents, I find it sad, ironic, and unbelievable that you refer to immigrants as "breeding like roaches" and then go on to infer that they lack manners and "the common sense to know what respect means and to respect those around them". We are talking about people who have crossed a border without authorization, not vermin or pests that need to be exterminated by the Orkin man. Some basic human respect on your side would be much welcomed.

Posted by: lca | July 26, 2007 11:47 AM

Oops, meant to write imply, not infer

Posted by: lca | July 26, 2007 11:48 AM

Publius

A lot of what is happening is not because this batch of immigrants are coming in illegally but also because you need to take a look at what is happening in our country.

1. Job security and stability is at an all time low. (Remember there is a lot of outsourcing and insourcing from oversees. Both legally and illegally)

2. The base (manufacturing) on which the middle class was built in this country is all but dead.

3. With previous waves of large immigration back in th earlier part of the twentieth century, these immigrants did not use welfare. They did get foods stamps, free medical care and they were indeed a net benefit.

4. With large amounts of people coming into this country who are uneducated, and (no harm meant here, but it is true none the less) they are having more children than they can afford to provide for. So consequently that means our welfare rolls are going to go up. We are trying to help to end poverty, but a lot of poverty is self induced. Having more children than you can provide for is one of the reasons for poverty.

4. And you are right. A lot of immigrants, because of their lack of education and experience with American normalities scare or even repulse some Americans. I wouldn't want to go into a bathroom and see someone put their used toilet tissue in the trash can (toilets in some latin American country like Mexico do not work well. So flushing toilet tissue down the toilet is discouraged). Their ignorance of our toilets is not intentional but, let's face it, it still causes some very unpleasant surprises for the unsuspecting bathroom visitor.

Posted by: Edie | July 26, 2007 11:50 AM

Publius

A lot of what is happening is not because this batch of immigrants are coming in illegally but also because you need to take a look at what is happening in our country.

1. Job security and stability is at an all time low. (Remember there is a lot of outsourcing and insourcing from oversees. Both legally and illegally)

2. The base (manufacturing) on which the middle class was built in this country is all but dead.

3. With previous waves of large immigration back in th earlier part of the twentieth century, these immigrants did not use welfare. They did get foods stamps, free medical care and they were indeed a net benefit.

4. With large amounts of people coming into this country who are uneducated, and (no harm meant here, but it is true none the less) they are having more children than they can afford to provide for. So consequently that means our welfare rolls are going to go up. We are trying to help to end poverty, but a lot of poverty is self induced. Having more children than you can provide for is one of the reasons for poverty.

4. And you are right. A lot of immigrants, because of their lack of education and experience with American normalities scare or even repulse some Americans. I wouldn't want to go into a bathroom and see someone put their used toilet tissue in the trash can (toilets in some latin American country like Mexico do not work well. So flushing toilet tissue down the toilet is discouraged). Their ignorance of our toilets is not intentional but, let's face it, it still causes some very unpleasant surprises for the unsuspecting bathroom visitor.

Posted by: Edie | July 26, 2007 11:50 AM

Publius

A lot of what is happening is not because this batch of immigrants are coming in illegally but also because you need to take a look at what is happening in our country.

1. Job security and stability is at an all time low. (Remember there is a lot of outsourcing and insourcing from oversees. Both legally and illegally)

2. The base (manufacturing) on which the middle class was built in this country is all but dead.

3. With previous waves of large immigration back in th earlier part of the twentieth century, these immigrants did not use welfare. They did get foods stamps, free medical care and they were indeed a net benefit.

4. With large amounts of people coming into this country who are uneducated, and (no harm meant here, but it is true none the less) they are having more children than they can afford to provide for. So consequently that means our welfare rolls are going to go up. We are trying to help to end poverty, but a lot of poverty is self induced. Having more children than you can provide for is one of the reasons for poverty.

4. And you are right. A lot of immigrants, because of their lack of education and experience with American normalities scare or even repulse some Americans. I wouldn't want to go into a bathroom and see someone put their used toilet tissue in the trash can (toilets in some latin American country like Mexico do not work well. So flushing toilet tissue down the toilet is discouraged). Their ignorance of our toilets is not intentional but, let's face it, it still causes some very unpleasant surprises for the unsuspecting bathroom visitor.

Posted by: Edie | July 26, 2007 11:50 AM

White people are the people that should go back to Europe. The whites are the ones who came here illegally and killed nearly all of the inhabitants and took over. If anyone should go back where they came from is the white devils.

Posted by: Mike | July 26, 2007 12:26 PM

Thanks, Mike, you just single handedly canceled all the "xenophobe" posts.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 12:34 PM

When read carefully, you'll note that my post indicates that those two particular countries each have 2 official languages. In India it is both Hindi AND English; in Egypt it is Arabic AND English. In Norway they have two (Bokmål and Nynorsk) and in Russia it is "Russian officially throughout the nation and thirty co-official languages in various regions for different constituencies" (info from Wiki). . . For documents that need to be reproduced in another language when it is not available in the language of the non-English speaker who needs it . . . it is that person's responsibility (read including financial responsibility) to have it translated for them.

Bottom line, a common language unites us and makes us more efficient- but to dismiss people so broadly because they don't speak or comprehend completely the language of the country they live in is dangerous. Again, if an agency is providing translated copies of documents and bilingual services it is about convenience and taking preemptive accountability measures to protect the providers of the product or service more than anything else. . . i.e. so people aren't indicted for some reason or another. The cost of providing this is a drop in the bucket compared to the other resources undocumented citizens aren't helping support that they utilize on a daily basis.

With all that said, as a tax paying citizen, I don't think I should have to pay for the social welfare and general support of able-bodied adults who also aren't pitching in no matter where they are from or how long they've been here. Don't forget that in some localities your taxes (federal, state & local) pay not only for schools and school boards, they also may pay for ambulance/fire / rescue/ police services, running utilities such as water, metro/subway or bus services, (although we still have to pay, that doesn't necessarily cover the cost of the people that run these offices), quality assurance agencies, roads, bridges, stop lights, health departments, your elected officials and their respective offices (someone has to manage and run your area and the impact the people in it have!), the courts, the jails, etc. . . It all adds up! And one extra person here or there DOES matter. . . and those who live or work in that area should contribute equally.

Whatever your view, currently residing, legal, Americans need to recognize that this is a nation of immigrants, some legal, some illegal, some tenth+ generation some first. . .

Every influx of immigrants is, unfortunately, feared, stereotyped and used, at times, as a scapegoat. And I agree with one blogger's comment about the transient populations finding it harder to bond with their community members - that is just logical.

Let's just pray that we handle ourselves and our future citizens with fairness, dignity and grace.

Posted by: random point | July 26, 2007 12:39 PM

George Washington advocated light immigration limited to "useful mechanics." Was he evil, racist or a xenophobe? I think our leading Founding Father to be quite wise.

My friends on the Left seem to be the most supportive of the current demographic revolution. To support one's own marginalization is a form of self-hatred.

Posted by: DL | July 26, 2007 12:52 PM

You're welcome, 12:34.

Posted by: Mike | July 26, 2007 1:07 PM

Right on Mike! I always wondered that myself actually. Why don't the whites leave? all they did to this country was rape it and kill all the people. I can't stand it when a white perosn says "go back to your country" because they are actually the ones who are illegally in the someone elses country. Hmm, interesting.

All of the blacks that are here were illegally brought here as slaves by white people... Why do whites do that sort of thing? It's probably just in their blood.

Posted by: Laura | July 26, 2007 1:13 PM

"George Washington advocated light immigration limited to "useful mechanics." Was he evil, racist or a xenophobe? "

I am not sure about being a xenophobe, but I bet more than one of his slaves thought he was an evil racist.

Posted by: Dan | July 26, 2007 1:15 PM

Mike and Laura should leave. Go to some country that has never had injustice and its history is pure as a fresh powder of snow. I'm not leaving.

Posted by: DL | July 26, 2007 1:26 PM

DL, sorry bub, I see your point, but it is weak at best. Every country has a history of injustice and all that, that's a given. But do not go off on to that tangent.

The fact is that in this country the whites are the ones who illegally took over this land and killed nearly all the people here! It's only been 500 years since Columbus, only 6 or so generations ago. That is very recent. (my numbers may be off a bit, but you get my point)

It's like saying if I go to your house and kill you and your family and I take over your house and claim it as my own, that it is ok because "that happened last week, unfortunatley that's the history of this house."

Posted by: Mike | July 26, 2007 1:42 PM

Well said, Mike... well said!

I guess all non-whites should band together and kick all the whiteys out! Well actually, their number are rapidly declining in this country so they'll be gone soon enough.

Posted by: Laura | July 26, 2007 1:47 PM

Mike, read up on your pre-Clovis history. This continent had white people (Kennewick Man). The whites just liberated it from Red occupation.

"The biological diversity among ancient skulls has contradicted the possibility that the Kennewick Man is closely related to any modern Indian tribes.[2] Skulls older than 8,000 years old have been found to possess greater physical diversity than do those of modern Native Americans. This range implies that there was a genetic shift in populations about 8,000 years ago. The heterogeneity of these early people shows that genetic drift had already occurred, meaning the culture has been around awhile."
-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kennewick_Man

Nice, try though, Mike and Laura. Try turning off the cartoons.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:51 PM

Hey 1:51, were you around to see if Kennewick Man was white? If not, then any images you've seen of Kennewick Man are an interpretation of the white guy who found the skulls. Happens all the time.

Prove to me that Kennewick Man was white, and we'll talk. There were no cameras back then and all we have now are bones.

So you're trying to tell me you're not a European person and that you're related to the native american indians. ha!

Posted by: Mike | July 26, 2007 2:02 PM

I have to agree with you, Mike. Good point, spot on!

Posted by: Doug | July 26, 2007 2:05 PM

Mike

People from all over the world were migrating back then. So if it was wrong for one group to immigrate, it was wrong for all. There were no established countries, nor borders back then. Migrating from one land to another was something that was simply done back then. But we are a country now, we do have borders and we do have immigration laws. You and others may not like it but there it is.

Indians came to America by way of Bering Straits. From the continent of Asia. But guess who was living with them? Yep, you got it. White people. Read here about the
Takla Makan Mummies.

http://www.meshrep.com/PicOfDay/mummies/mummies.htm

Not trying to be arguementative. Face it, we are all more closely related than we could imagined. But we are living in the here and now. You cannot erase hundreds of years of what is now the United States of America based on something that happened hundreds of years ago. And if you condemn those Europeans that immigrated to this new land, you have to condemn every single race/culture of those times. For they all migrated to other lands at one time or another.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 2:46 PM

So were supposed to take a bunch of self-hating whites who watch cartoons all day seriously? Go back to teaching in Montgomery County and leave us alone!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 3:10 PM

Exactly, we ARE living in the here and now. So all of your history information is moot. I'm talking about the modern era here buddy, keep up.

You're beating around the bush by not acknowledging that the modern white man killed all the modern native americans and enslaved, killed and raped all the modern slaves.

Of all the races to live in this country, the whites should not be one of them. But alas, there's never any punishment for the white folks, God forbid.

Posted by: Mike | July 26, 2007 3:15 PM

"All of the blacks that are here were illegally brought here as slaves by white people... "

Laura, remembering what I learned in school, if slavery was legal in its day, how was it illegal? Immoral yes, illegal by whose definition of the times(not by todays definition)? Also, and correct me if I'm wrong please, weren't the slaves at that time sold to the Europeans by African rival tribes?

As for whites being here illegally, what is the time of statute for expansion and colonization? Do the Eskimos in Alaska need to return to Asia? How about the Turks give Turkey back to the Romans and they give back to Alexander's Empire, and him to the Persians? Why don't we all return to Africa since that's where science says Homo Erectus came from.

The history is that, in the past. To hold someone accountable for what their parent, grandparent or ancestor did is saying that there is no individuality. We all should try to correct the wrongs in the past, but we can't be held responsible for them. Just because my ancestors came here on a boat (I'm assuming) and not across a land bridge doesn't give me any less right to be here than anyone else who's ancestor came here in a different why. I am not my ancestor and neither are you.

Sorry for my rant and getting off topic but I can't stand open bigotry.

Posted by: CB | July 26, 2007 3:18 PM

I think the biggest difference between what is called the Right and what is called the Left is that the Left hates almost everything that happened in American history before the 1960 (except maybe for the New Deal) while the Right despised most of American history after 1960 with the exception of the Reagan Presidency.

I am proud of what my ancestors toiled to bring forth in America. In the period of 1607-1803, my ancestors forged a string of vibrant settlements between the Atlantic coast and the Appalachians. In the next century, it conquered and settled a 3000 mile wide continent. It was a great achievement for which three hundred years of Americans gave their sweat, muscle, blood, brains and heart. They are not only to be congratulated for what they collectively achieved but should be lionized by every decent American lving today. We owe them much. They were better people than the Leftists who sneer at them

Posted by: DL | July 26, 2007 3:40 PM

Mike, what's the modern era? Columbus? American Revolution? Eli Whitney and the cotton gin? Textiles? Industrial revolution? The computer age? If your saying that 1500 A.D. is the "modern era" I hope you feel good living in your hovel as a serf and black plague.

Posted by: CB | July 26, 2007 3:41 PM

It's becoming the "in" thing to prejudice against "white" people. What I am is a person that knows that you cannot wipe out the work of hundreds of years by a people (white and black) who have built a great nation simply by pointing a finger and saying "you stole this land from those people and it belongs to them". Guess what those people, on both sides, have been dead for hundreds of years. If you still have a problem, go dig up their bodies and give them a peace of your mind.

Posted by: Edie | July 26, 2007 3:56 PM

It's becoming the "in" thing to be prejudice against "white" people. What I am is a person that knows that you cannot wipe out the work of hundreds of years by a people (white and black) who have built a great nation simply by pointing a finger and saying "you stole this land from those people and it belongs to them". Guess what those people, on both sides, have been dead for hundreds of years. If you still have a problem with them, go dig up their bodies and give them a peace of your mind.

Posted by: Edie | July 26, 2007 3:58 PM

Saratoga.
Normandy.
Polio vaccine.
Constitution.
Air planes.
Computers.
Representative Democracy.
Freedom of the Press.

Kick ass white guys did and invented all these things!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 4:37 PM

List of notable Black inventions:

Automatic Car Coupling Device(1897)
Mechanical Seed Planter(1834)
Mechanical Corn Harvester(1836)
Street Sweeper(1896)
Microcomputer system with bus control means for peripheral processing devices(1984)
Established Blood Banks all over the world(1940)
Egg Beater(1884)
Refrigeration for transport trucks(1938)
Refrigeration for railroad cars(1945)
Pencil Sharpener(1897)
Automatic Lubrication System for railroads and heavy machinery(1892)
Automatic Shoe Making Machine that revolutionized the making of shoes(1883)
Elevator(1888)
Gas Mask that saved many lives during WWI(1914)
Automatic Traffic Signal(1923)
Sugar Refining System that revolutionized the making of sugar(1846)
Hot Comb(1920)
Toggle Harpoon(1848)
First Open Heart Surgery(1893)
Multiplex Telegraph system, allowing messages to be sent/received from moving trains(1887)
Railway Air Brakes that provided the first safe method of stopping trains(1903)
Steam-boiler/radiator(1884)
Third Rail [subway](1893)
Lemon Squeezer(1896)

Posted by: We can play this game all day! | July 26, 2007 5:17 PM

Wow, there's more kick ass Black inventors that white ones!

The 1st open heart surgery by a Black person...now that is truly kick ass, GO Blacks!

Posted by: Jason | July 26, 2007 5:19 PM

It's not an "in" think to be prejudice towards white people. It's just their turn, that's all. How can you whites expect to treat a race as you have treated the blacks and not expect some animosity?

You're kidding yourself if you don't realize blacks would kill/rape/hang/beat-down all of you white people if you whites didn't make it be against the law to do so. You did all those things to us for 400 years! I bet you whites wouldn't even have the balls to give blacks just one year so we can have white slaves and be able to treat you as you treated us.

We'd end up raping all your white women, hanging all the men, and keeping your asses from having jobs. Then after the one year is up we'll make slavery illegal again.

Deal?

Posted by: Mike | July 26, 2007 5:26 PM

"As for whites being here illegally, what is the time of statute for expansion and colonization? Do the Eskimos in Alaska need to return to Asia? How about the Turks give Turkey back to the Romans and they give back to Alexander's Empire, and him to the Persians? Why don't we all return to Africa since that's where science says Homo Erectus came from."

CB, your comment contains w/in it a contradiction of your point. You're arguing that history happened, but you don't want to acknowledge that history is still happening!

Big changes happen for big reasons, largely economic. If you want to stop the changes we are now witnessing, you had better find a way to change the economic incentives in a big way--not just by raiding a couple of meat-packing plants in Nebraska.

Do you think Mexican peasants WANT to leave their homes and families to go to a new place where most people do not speak their language, where they are often scorned, and where they labor in dirty, hazardous occupations? People will do what they have to do to find a way to live.


Posted by: THS | July 26, 2007 5:47 PM

We can play this game all day,

Got a reference for the list of black inventions?

Sounds like Snopes material.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 9:25 PM

In the two apt buildings I lived in there toilets in my unit that didn't always flush down tissues.

Posted by: Edddit | July 26, 2007 10:58 PM

Mike said


"It's not an "in" think to be prejudice towards white people. It's just their turn, that's all. How can you whites expect to treat a race as you have treated the blacks and not expect some animosity?

You're kidding yourself if you don't realize blacks would kill/rape/hang/beat-down all of you white people if you whites didn't make it be against the law to do so. You did all those things to us for 400 years! I bet you whites wouldn't even have the balls to give blacks just one year so we can have white slaves and be able to treat you as you treated us.

We'd end up raping all your white women, hanging all the men, and keeping your asses from having jobs. Then after the one year is up we'll make slavery illegal again.

Deal?"

No Deal Mike, you speak only for yourself. Not the black race of which I am a member of. You are one of the hatemongers who pit race against race. Why point the finger at the "white people" if you are treat them the same way they treat you. If fact you are worst. Already knowing slavery and the brutality it involved, knowing the wrong of it, you still would do it. They were ignorant in their behavior, but you would have yourself to be not only ignorant, you would be a hypocrite and savage barbarian. You are obviously filled with hate toward white people. I will pray for you. You are only headed toward your own destruction.

Posted by: Edie | July 27, 2007 7:05 AM

Eddit,

There is a lot a difference between not "didn't always flush down tissue" to not being flushing down tissue due to inferior plumbing and consequently putting your toilet tissue with your human excrement in the garbage can. You cannot tell me any one here on this board would find that pleasant.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 27, 2007 7:12 AM

The hot comb was invented by a black person. Well, imagine that! You know hwat, I bet fried chicken was invented by a black person too!

Posted by: lawd have mercey | July 28, 2007 9:45 PM

Actually, you are correct, fried chicken was invented by Blacks-- Black slaves. They already fried meat in Africa; but when the white folks brought them here to be slaves, the slave owners allowed the slaves to eat chicken... so they fried it... out of necessity! (and as a way to preserve the meat)

So there it is folks, the white, jerk slave owners forced Blacks to invent fried chicken!

See for yourself here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fried_chicken

Posted by: Do some research first before using it against us, ahole. | July 30, 2007 2:56 PM

The fact is that in this country the whites are the ones who illegally took over this land and killed nearly all the people here! It's only been 500 years since Columbus, only 6 or so generations ago. That is very recent. (my numbers may be off a bit, but you get my point)

It's like saying if I go to your house and kill you and your family and I take over your house and claim it as my own, that it is ok because "that happened last week, unfortunatley that's the history of this house."

I could not have said that any better. Smart man.

Posted by: Ryan | July 30, 2007 3:14 PM

Ryan, the fact also remains that every race/culture was migrating, conquering and taking lands hundreds of years ago. What do you propose, turning back the hands of time and undoing all of the supposed wrongs. Remember this was life back then. Now we have countrys, laws and all that has been accomplished in the U.S. has been by the hands of whites and blacks (slavery). Other races/cultures contributed, but the vast majority of the work accomplished as been by whites and blacks. So you are saying all the work that has been accomplished should just be handed over to the supposed descendants of the native people. People south of our border are not descendents of the native americans who inhabited what is now the U.S. Most are descendents of their spanish conquerers (who were a mixture of white and black) and the indigenous tribes of the lands of Mexico.

Posted by: Edie | August 3, 2007 7:26 AM

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